Thursday, May 8, 2008

Soft Pillow

About once a week, one of my kids catches me off guard with proof that Lee and I are doing something right.  This week it was James' turn.  He brings home what's called a "Tuesday folder".  It's filled with a weeks worth of work and other things he's done in class.  This heart was in amongst the 'other things' pile.  

I am coordinator for my church's outreach to the homeless.  It's called Food for Friendship.  It is funded and staffed solely by members and friends of our little church (50 in attendance on a Sunday).  Each Sunday morning a team of amazing people drag out of bed to be at church by 7am to begin cooking breakfast.  Well, I drag out on my Sunday, maybe they don't.  I digress. The doors are opened at 8am and breakfast is served until 9.  Typically we serve well over a hundred breakfasts.  We allow seconds and thirds and fourths---however many trips it takes to fill an empty stomach.  We have four Sundays a month (except 4 months that have a 5th Sunday), a different menu each week, and a different team of volunteers.  Every Thanksgiving we have a dinner with all the fixins.  We serve over 200 with homemade food and genuine hearts. The whole congregation chips in to make it happen. The program is in it's 17 year.

Our guests are mostly men.  Not all homeless, but the breakfast is free.  They come from all walks of life, each with their own story.  Several are mentally ill.  One in particular, Michael, is clearly in need of medication.  He's also wicked smart.  We suspect he's from a wealthy family back east and probably has at least a Master's degree, if not a PhD.  When he's not ranting about homelessness, government or how we ought to expand our menu, he's handing out chocolates to his fellow travelers. His father recently passed away and left him a hefty sum of money.  We surmise he has access to the money through an executor, thus the chocolates for friends.  

Now back to James' heartfelt sentiment.  In the winter, I am especially aware on cold nights that I am blessed with a warm bed and a soft pillow.  I add it in our bedtime prayer of thankfulness and prayer concerns.  James once asked me what that part of the prayer was about.  I told him that many of the folks that come to our breakfast might be sleeping in a box on the ground.  No soft pillow to lay their head on.  He tucked that bit of prayer into his heart and when asked at school what he'd give away, he thought of his pillow.  He's aware that many of our guests are grumpy---mostly because their stomachs are empty.  In James' mind, it's because they haven't had a good nights sleep.  Either way, he gets it.  We should all get it.  

"and a little child shall lead them."~ Isaiah 11:6

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